Erdogan slammed after visiting N. Cyprus and calling for ‘two-state solution’

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, his wife Emine Erdogan, left, Ersin Tatar, second right, and his wife Sibel Tatar, greet each other during a welcome ceremony at Ercan Airport, in Nicosia, Northern Cyprus, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. (AP)
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Protesters in the Turkish-occupied Cypriot resort town of Verosha demonstrated against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit on Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 16 November 2020

Erdogan slammed after visiting N. Cyprus and calling for ‘two-state solution’

  • Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the visit was 'provocative and illegal'
  • Erdogan was visiting Northern Cyprus after Ersin Tatar won last month's presidential election

ANKARA: Recep Tayyip Erdogan was again accused of provocation on Sunday after a controversial visit to a Turkish enclave in Cyprus.

The Turkish president demanded a “two-state solution” for the divided island and vowed to continue oil exploration in Greek territorial waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

The island is split between the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member that controls the southern two thirds, and the northern third occupied by Turkey since 1974. 

Only Ankara recognizes northern Cyprus as an independent state, and it is largely shunned by the international community

"Our priority is to ensure a fair, lasting and sustainable solution" in Cyprus that ensures Turkish Cypriots have security and legal rights, Erdogan told an audience after his arrival.

“There are two peoples and two separate states in Cyprus. There must be talks for a solution on the basis of two separate states,” he said. 

"A two-state solution must be negotiated on the basis of sovereign equality," he added.

Erdogan was visiting Northern Cyprus after Ersin Tatar, who also supports a two-state solution, won last month's presidential election. Tatar's predecessor had backed reunification of the island.


'Provocative and illegal'

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades condemned Erdogan’s visit, and the “secessionist act of the declaration of the illegal regime” in the north.

“Ankara has absolutely no respect for international law, European principles and values, and its obligations toward the EU,” he said.

Erdogan later visited Varosha, a beach town that has been fenced-off and abandoned in no-man's land since 1974.

Ankara backed the partial re-opening of Varosha just before last month's election in a move criticized by the United States, Greece and Greek Cypriots.

Turkey has increasingly flexed its military muscle in the region, including by backing Azerbaijan in its renewed conflict with Armenia over the past few weeks.

Erdogan alluded to Turkey's dispute with EU members Greece and Cyprus and with other neighbors over territorial waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

The EU has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey next month over illegal exploration at sea.

"Neither we nor Northern Cyprus can tolerate diplomacy games (in the region) anymore," Erdogan said.

He added that Tatar would soon visit Azerbaijan - which does not recognize Northern Cyprus — to "make the situation better", without elaborating.

Tatar backed Erdogan's calls for a two-state solution and offshore rights.


 


Egypt, UAE resume first Qatar flights since 2017

Updated 18 January 2021

Egypt, UAE resume first Qatar flights since 2017

  • An EgyptAir flight took off from Doha to Cairo, making it the first commercial flight in three and a half years between both countries
  • It was followed shortly after by the arrival of an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah in the UAE

DOHA: The first direct flights since 2017 between Qatar and its former rivals Egypt and the UAE took to the skies on Monday, following the end of a regional crisis.
Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in cutting ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of being too close to Iran and of backing Islamic extremists, charges Doha denies.
The quartet agreed to heal the rift at a Gulf summit on January 5 in Saudi Arabia, after a flurry of diplomatic activity by outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration.
The first commercial flight from Qatar to Egypt in three and a half years, an EgyptAir service to Cairo, took off from windswept Doha airport.
It was followed shortly after by the arrival of an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah in the UAE.
The resumption of flights from Doha to Cairo will simplify travel for the large contingent of Egyptians living in Qatar.
As many as 300,000 Egyptians call Qatar home, according to official statistics, but many were unable to travel home during the crisis.
In May 2020, frustrated Egyptians protested outside the compound housing Egypt’s then-empty embassy.
Following the demonstration, 18 repatriation flights operated via neutral Oman to comply with Cairo’s ban on direct air traffic.
A Qatar Airways plane was due to also make the trip to Cairo later Monday.
Flights between Doha and Saudi Arabia, which has also opened its land border to Qatar, resumed on January 11.
The row complicated regional travel, divided families and raised costs faced by Qatari businesses.
Mustafa Ahmed, 38, an Egyptian technical engineer, said he was “very happy.”
“With direct flights, life will be easier, especially for families and children, avoiding the torment of changing airports and planes and waiting for hours for transit flights,” he told AFP.
Egyptians in Qatar work in a number of sectors including education, health care and engineering.
Thousands of Qatar’s majority-expatriate workforce, however, have lost their jobs as a result of a downturn caused by the coronavirus epidemic.